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This blog will be a meditation on games, gaming, and gamers. Especially those of us who have been playing the gaming game for a while. The title is from "Legend of Zelda: Link's Adventure," because who but an Older Gamer would remember that?
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Are Video Games Getting Easier?

Posted 3rd April 2011 at 08:14 PM by daranthered

Question. Have you ever gone back and played the games you did when you were growing up? How did you find them? For me, the answer can be summed up in one word: Hard.

Finding and playing the games from the 70's, 80's and 90's isn't difficult. Emulators and Apps abound. My preferred method has been for years, to play them on my old Gameboy Advanced, which imported many old titles from the NES, SNES, and SEGA systems. Some of my favorites are Altered Beast, Mario 3, and Castelvania.

When I go back and play these games, I'm struck by how difficult they are to play. I think, paradoxically, it's because they're simpler. Because there wasn't as yet as much ability in graphics and story in gaming, the concentration was on sheer difficulty. If you don't believe me, go back and the Original Sonic the Hedgehog. Or Pac-Man. That game's a bloody nightmare after three levels.

A large part of the difficulty I have in playing these is the two-dimensional nature of them. My brain is used to being able to side step, strafe and sidle up to my quarry in games like Halo, Fallout 3 or Dragon Age. Reduce the number of possible options to a few route responses to given situations, and the mind of a modern gamer freezes. I can now manage a head-shot while jumping off a cliff, but I can no longer properly time a jump over a mushroom with feet.

The old games aren't about thinking, they're about acting. I never realized until years later that my ability to play through Mario 3 on one life was as much muscle memory as anything else.

It's a bit humbling to go back to those games you mastered as a kid, and find that all you uber skills at Warcraft avail you not in the halls of Castlevania. But there's also a plus side. There's a whole library of games out there to master again. Gannon needs to be dealt with.

Go Forth: The Princess is still in another castle. And Cutsmen is still the lamest idea for a hard level boss ever.
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  1. Old Comment
    Schizo's Avatar
    There is a reason why the older games are called "Nintendo Hard".

    Specifically, Nintendo didn't want kids to be able to go out, rent a game, and beat it in a few days. So they amped up the difficulty on the home console versions of their games to make them insanely hard.

    Nowadays, the insane difficulty levels of games have been replaces with end-game or collector content. Sure you can beat the storyline of the game, but if you want the additional trophies, go find 100 hidden hamburger wrappers through the game (or some other useless thing), or face the optional hard-as-nails boss that can kill your character just by turning the console on and will require you to get every single best weapon in the game just to have a chance at defeating him.

    So yeah, the difficulty in games I think still exists, just in a different form now.
    Posted 21st April 2011 at 05:43 AM by Schizo Schizo is offline
  2. Old Comment
    neimad's Avatar
    Yes, they are! I was reading Dan Hulton's blog post The Decline of WoW and followed the top link from each blog.

    The resulting posts give a fairly reasonable summary for why games are getting easier, at least in the MMOG sphere. It makes the social aspect of being part of a like minded community such as TOG even more important in these types of games.
    Posted 27th April 2011 at 10:37 AM by neimad neimad is offline
  3. Old Comment
    I agree with you on most of the points, bur not all games are easy than older ones.

    Symptoms of AIDS
    Posted 24th December 2011 at 07:03 PM by tomwade tomwade is offline

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